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    Doug McIntyre: Carnage in the Holy Land, once again
    • October 17, 2023

    There are no words but that’s all we have — I mean other than bombs and bullets, and those are being deployed in full measure.

    The horror the world witnessed in Israel is beyond the capacity of most to comprehend. What could the leaders of Hamas possibly have been thinking? What did they hope to achieve by unleashing a homicidal rampage against unarmed civilians, including babies?

    The predictable Israeli response has been swift, deadly and sustained. It is also justified. What nation could not act after a horror like last Saturday’s invasion? Hamas knew before it sent armed paragliders to massacre concert goers at a music festival what would follow. So, what did they hope to achieve other than the death of hundreds, if not thousands, of their co-religionists and a brutal day-to-day existence for the survivors deprived of food, water, shelter, medicine and electricity after Israel flattens Gaza? If they had hoped their legitimate political objections to Israeli hegemony over Gaza would be rectified, those hopes are as dead as the innocents they murdered with a shocking barbarity.

    Words, words, words. Words in every language with no end in sight.

    This time, history is a hindrance not a help. There are no lessons to be gleaned from the past, only a menu of grievances, an ever-growing catalog of killings and reprisals that fuel more killings and reprisals. It’s pointless to cite the past when the combatants can’t even agree on today. Since Israel’s birth in 1948, the Jewish homeland has experienced tenuous periods of peace, but always at a terrible cost. They have had hardline war governments and courageous peace governments and neither approach has mollified their enemies internal or external. For the duration of the present crisis, the Israelis’ will be governed by a coalition administration with two objectives, security at home and retribution abroad.

    Iran is happy.

    The reported progress in Saudi-Israeli peace talks have stopped cold. Soon Israeli airstrikes and occupying ground troops will be painted by hostile governments as war crimes. That’s by design. Hamas and Hezbollah are both infamous for firing missiles from crowded neighborhoods and they cry “war crime!” when those batteries are destroyed with the inevitable civilian casualties. In face of images of crumbled Arab neighborhoods, any overt peace deals with Israel are impossible.

    Vladimir Putin is happy.

    While the West focuses on Israel and Gaza, Vlad continues to kidnap Ukrainian children and kill civilians by the score with no military objective other than arbitrary death and destruction.

    China is happy.

    Again, while our attention turns to an ally in need, the communist Chinese government continue to play a game of nuclear chicken in the South China Sea and the Straits of Taiwan, pushing their territorial claims to absurd dimensions and threatening global trade in the Pacific.

    Hack politicians are happy.

    The usual suspects here at home will exploit the attacks in Israel (and the Israeli response) to pin blame on their opponents, hoping to pluck some low hanging fruit next election.

    The people who make bullets and bombs are happy.

    War is always good for the bottom line.

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    The Middle-East is a political and moral Rorschach test for both nations and individuals. Who do you stand with? While it’s perfectly acceptable to blame the Israeli government for inflaming tensions by encouraging settlements in disputed territory — Israelis argue among themselves all the time — equating the only democratic and ecumenical nation with despotic, terror-sponsoring states who deliberately target civilians is fundamentally wrong. Might does not always make right. But neither is the wealthy and powerful nation always wrong. Many of Israel’s critics believe the nation’s success is its original sin.

    But these are just words.

    Throw my opinion onto the other piles of words spewed by those of us shocked once again at mankind’s endless capacity to invent new horrors.

    “Never again?”

    “I have a dream.”

    Will anything ever change?

    In December of 2012, a madman shot his way into Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut and murdered twenty-six people, including twenty children ages seven and eight. Nothing was done. If a foreign agent had done this, we would have gone to war.

    Words. Words. Words.

    Doug McIntyre’s column appears Sundays. [email protected]. His novel, “Frank’s Shadow” is available at:   

    ​ Orange County Register